December 20,1968-November 7, 2015
Today hearts are breaking.
Today tears fall around the world as we mourn your passing.
Today begins those unavoidable five stages of grief for those of us that loved you.
You: the wife, the daughter, the sister, the friend, the teacher, the mentor, the author and, of course, the runner… you were all of these and more. You touched each of us in different ways, so open, so very generous and inclusive in building your global family. From the first of our many online chats, you made me feel like an important part of your inner circle–we were long lost friends just found. We’d chatted about meeting at a couple of events here in Texas, but my circumstances didn’t cooperate. When, at last, we met in New Orleans our conversations were in passing or at the end of panels… there was so much going on. My thoughts at the end of the conference were “we’ll have time at the next event, no worries”, but there will be no more opportunities. I am certain I’m not alone in that hind-sight phenomenon but I abhor regrets and refuse to give in to them. I am forever grateful that I got to know you in the short time we were given.
There will be stories of you spurred by memories of friends and loved ones, re-sharing of lots of blurry photos, goofy but apt pie charts, blogs by you and about you, and readers new and old getting to know you via the reading of the magnificent books you left to us.
About those books… what a gift you have given us; each one illustrating our connection through time, distance, history and religion. Your care with research, the respect inherent in your presentation, your quiet but laser-like humor and your intricate weaving of those things into the ‘story’ always encourages us to think, to examine more than what the characters are doing. We are gently nudged (yes, that) to examine what we would do, how we would feel. Your gift to us never ends with the last page of the story.
I am reminded of words written long ago by Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet. When asked to speak of death, the Prophet said many wise things but these were the words that stood out for me:
“For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand to seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”
We, the living–the left-behind, grieve our loss of you in our world, each in our own way and in our own time. You will be missed, my friend, but your all too brief time with us will be celebrated with each day’s sunrise, and while you shine down upon us we will join you the the glories of singing, continue to climb those mountains placed in our paths and dance with you in joyous, ‘interpretive’ abandon.
Rest well dear friend. You will be forever in my heart.
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